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Arthouse Audit: New Releases Led by 'Ruby Sparks' Are Hurt By Olympics

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood July 29, 2012 at 2:41PM

Four years ago at the 2008 Olympics opening, specialized distributors avoided the date like the plague for new releases. This year, several anticipated films opened--and none showed strength consistent with what has been a robust late spring/summer. As the games tend to appeal to older audiences, this is not particularly surprising.
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"Take This Waltz" (Magnolia) - Week 5; also available on Video on Demand

$81,000 in 64 theaters (+8); PSA: $1,266; Cumulative: $978,280

Low PSA at this point, but a $1 million gross is the next step

What it means: The VOD venues remain the easier place for most viewers to see this.

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (Fox Searchlight) - Week 13

$328,000 in 276 theaters (-12); PSA: $1,188; Cumulative: $44,464,000

Heading into its fourth month on screen, this still is finding new viewers at the point when most films are nearing DVD release.

What it means: This has established a high bar for specialized/indie releases for 2012 that likely won't be topped until will we get to year-end awards-boosted films.

"Bernie" (Millennium) - Week 14

$134,000 in 99 theaters (-5); PSA: $1,354; Cumulative: $8,593,000

Weekend 14 for "Bernie," who like the namesake in the movie, refuses to lie down and die.

What it means: $9 million anyone?

"Safety Not Guaranteed" (FilmDistrict) - Week 8

$164,000 in 149 theaters (+25); PSA: $1,101; Cumulative: $3,197,000

Pushing ahead (and adding theaters at this late date), this continues to play at a consistent if lower level late in the run.

What it means: $4 million is still possible, way above expectations.

"Your Sister's Sister" (IFC) - Week 7

$60,000 in 64 theaters (-1); PSA:$800; Cumulative: $1,460,000

Grossing little at this point, but keeping the print count steady.

What it means: This is near the end of its run, after more than tripling the gross of director Lynn Shelton's earlier cult success "Humpday."

"Shut Up and Play the Hits" (Oscilloscope) - Week 2

$22,400 in 15 theaters; PSA: $1,493; Cumulative: $453,000

After its mainly single-day midweek engagements nationally last week, this returned for more regular dates in a handful of theaters with minor success.

What it means: This has done most of its theatrical gross, but has been established nicely for other venues ahead.

"Neil Young Journeys" (Sony Picture Classics) - Week 5

$18,378 in 16 theaters (+2); PSA: $1,149; Cumulative: $112,000

This continues to draw only die-hard Neil Young fans.

What it means: Expect this to still get to other markets for at least single-week bookings.

"The Imposter" (Indomina) - Week 3

$13,526 in 2 theaters (+1); PSA: $6,763; Cumulative: $61,000

With less advertising than some other recent docs, this Sundance contender continues to add gross after its very strong initial NY opening.

What it means: This expands to more cities starting this week.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Independents, Fox Searchlight, Fox Searchlight


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.